Stories about government

You can work as a waiter or a driver in the US, but not in Pakistan

My love for Pakistan is unfathomable! From the lush green valley of Chitral to the hustling bustling streets of Lahore, my love for my country has, in fact, grown over time. Pakistan is my home – mom’s food, sister’s amazing chai, random hangouts with school friends, street food, the streets of Lahore; the list of things I absolutely adore about my home is unending. When I came to the US, initially I thought this journey was more like a survival challenge for my existence. I was nostalgic and missed everything about home. But now I feel those things are not missed so much ...

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Salahuddin Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mujahid hangings: A case of ‘judicial murder’?

Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, a senior opposition leader and former minister in Khaleda Zia’s government, and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid of the Jamaat-e-Islami party were sent to the gallows last Sunday. The state of Bangladesh held them accountable for war crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence. The state’s actions have received widespread criticism from opposition parties and international human rights groups – not for their alleged war crimes, but in the way the entire trial was conducted. The defendants were not given a fair opportunity to produce their witnesses for their defence. The International Crimes Tribunal had awarded capital punishment to Chowdhury and Mujahid in October 2013. The Supreme Court of Bangladesh, ...

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It is grossly unfair to accuse Modi alone for the growing intolerance in India today

India has been the cradle of religious pluralism for centuries. It is one of the few countries in the world that has been home for people belonging to different religions, castes, creeds, cultures, languages that, not only seamlessly assimilated to the Indian ethos, but also contributed significantly to the art and culture. Moreover, for centuries, Hindus, Muslims, Christians have coexisted peacefully. This has been primarily due to the tolerance shown by the Hindus towards people professing other faiths.  India, during the Mughal rule, excelled in art and culture – the many monuments we see today, like the Taj Mahal, Red ...

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Their maddening, disappointed passion and the silent love

“It is neither a story of hatred, nor of love; it is not even a fatalistic story. It is a story of sheer indifference towards oneself and those loved, one that eats away a human soul slowly, bit by bit but persistently. It is a story of spiritual paralysis caused by maddening disappointed passion.” Nadia was standing by the window of her office, which offered a spectacular view of the main boulevard, with an air of untroubled poise which was reflected in her quiet dark brown eyes outlined with a dash of kohl. Her frozen, soft face complimented the stillness of her ...

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Chaand Raat and Eid are just not the same in Karachi anymore

It’s safe to say that Eidul Fitr tops everyone’s list if asked which Eid they prefer, simply because it has always been the easiest way to make money without having to do anything over a span of three days.   I would fall into the same category of those who like ‘choti Eid’ more for the same reason. These motives of looking forward to Eid seem quite shallow, but that’s the only exciting aspect for children, apart from eating unhealthy amounts of food over Eid holidays. But as I grew up, I slowly grew to realise what Eid is all about. It’s a way of thanking Allah (SWT) ...

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Here is why I can’t trust the police in Pakistan

A friend’s recent encounter with the police has left me fuming. He was waiting for his sister outside a restaurant on a busy road, when a transvestite tried to get into his car. Seconds after he told the transvestite to go away, a police mobile stopped next to his car, as if waiting to pounce on him and hurled a series of accusatory and demeaning questions at him. He had not been committing a crime nor attempting to do so, then why was he dealt with like a culprit? And would he have been treated the same way had he been in an ...

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Is there any solution to Karachi’s trigger-happy muggers?

I sat there, bewildered; you expect it, consciously, yet subconsciously you believe you’ll be immune from it, somehow, by some grand scheme of the universe. Once the calm after the storm had washed over, it was replaced with a racing pulse and bouts of anger. Inadvertently, I uttered a curse directed at that hooded figure that only moments ago had stood in the figure of a knell beside me. After four years in Karachi, I somehow believed I had become equipped in the tools of avoiding being mugged. I barely used my phone while in the car or in public transport, ...

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Pakistan needs to stop spending on its defence so much

It was October 30, 2003 – 11 and a half years ago – when someone at The Economist penned an article titled Pakistan’s economy: Feeling undervalued. For the next three years, every Taimur (Tom), Danial (Dick) and Haris (Harry) praised and rejoiced the unprecedented economic growth rate in the history of Pakistan. But what happened with the West’s financial press that suddenly – and finally – people started taking about a Pakistan with something else to offer than its role in War on Terror? The answer is surprisingly simple; falling oil prices – and the economic growth that followed suit. In the fiscal ...

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As a citizen of Pakistan, I demand to know more about Balochistan

Back in 1998, while living in Quetta in our cosy cantonment apartment, I had known little about what this province in the southwest of Pakistan is facing. For me, it was more about exploring the rugged mountainous terrain of the largest province of Pakistan, enjoying the juicy apples and cherries, and experiencing the melting of snowflakes on the palm of my hand during winters. Back then I didn’t know that for 60 years this region has been a battleground. Even today many people living in other provinces of Pakistan do not know about the on-going conflict. Mostly because whenever somebody tries to talk ...

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Petrol shortages: Please don’t blame the government…

After a long and relatively blissful slump in the price of petrol, it was increased by Rs4 in the beginning of the month of April, much to the dismay of the public. This is the beginning of the end of long drives and unnecessary trips to anywhere. The reasons cited are as varied as the different kinds of Shan Biryani Masalas you get in the market (I am not getting paid for this, it only counts towards ‘interest in the kitchen’ points with my mom). They range from ‘rising oil prices worldwide’ to an ‘intricate Saudi conspiracy that will alter the very fabric of ...

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